Military and Police

Man Punches 5-Year-Old Boy on New York Train

An incident that would make any parent’s jaw drop in horror happened last weekend on a southbound G train in Brooklyn. According to, a six-foot, 180-pound, 25-year-old man, later identified through witness’ cell phone photographs as Ramon Thomas, allegedly punched a 5-year-old boy in the face. This left the side of his face bruised and swollen.

The boy was riding the train with his mother at around 4:30 p.m. when the man attacked him without warning. After the assault, Thomas reportedly taunted the boy, yelling, “Are you going to cry to ya’ mommy?” The boy was treated for his injuries at the hospital and later released.

25-year-old Ramon Thomas allegedly punched a 5-year-old boy while riding the G train with his mom in Brooklyn, NY. (Credit: NYPD)

This is the type of incident that can leave you asking, “What is this world coming to?” But, aside from it also being a good reminder to keep a close eye on those youngins when you’re out and about, this amounts to one thing: an isolated example of the depravity, mental illness, or both…of one bad man. I’m not ready to indict society because of this single man’s actions. I think we need more individual responsibility, not less. However, it may signal another indictment.

So, let’s put this into perspective. As bad as the incident was, how many 5-year-olds do you know who’ve been attacked in public by an adult man? I believe adult men in America are much more likely to protect a child than to harm one.

With the news channels vomiting 24/7/365 coverage of events significant and otherwise (sometimes even things other than Russian collusion), society can be fooled into thinking what is isn’t and what isn’t is. For example, there’s been a lot of talking and marching about “gun violence” in the news lately. From the one-sided reporting, you’d swear every school is pinned down by NRA members manning a machine gun nest—in fact, that’s exactly what the anti-gun zealots want you to think. Ignore who is at fault and blame who isn’t.

In reality, there have never been more guns in America, while gun violence and violent crime over the past several decades have decreased significantly. And schools are one of the safest places for kids.

(Credit: Facebook/Kristin Lindquist)

Still, though rare, just like evil people attack schools, adult strangers sometimes attack kids in public, and not only in New York. In Georgia just last month, a 62-year-old man spanked another man’s 2-year-old child in a supermarket.

Logan Morris was in a checkout line at the local Kroger market when his son asked for candy. Morris said, “No, it’s too late, bud.” That’s when a man standing behind Morris, later identified as Juan Guvarra Martinez, allegedly “grabbed his son’s hand, spun him around, and spanked him three times.” Reportedly, Martinez said, “That’s how we deal with kids in Mexico.”

Morris said he was stunned as store employees moved in quickly to separate Martinez from Morris and his son. Morris said he replied to Martinez, “We’re not in Mexico,” and then took his son out of the store and called the police.

Still in the checkout line, officers arrived and interviewed Martinez. The cops said the suspect was slurring his words and swearing at store employees. Officers also reported Martinez was giving off a strong odor of alcohol. Police handcuffed the suspect and placed him in a patrol car where he kicked at the doors and windows.

Unresponsive to questioning when he got to the jail, the staff sent Martinez to the hospital for evaluation. Following an examination, officers brought Martinez back to jail and booked him for assault, disorderly conduct, and obstructing a police officer.

So, strange adults do assault young children, but thankfully only infrequently. Perhaps, the Brooklyn assailant had also been high or intoxicated. Not that inebriation would have excused the behavior, but it might have explained it to a degree. Either way, these attacks are rare. Even “normal” criminals don’t do this.

I wonder about something, though, which brings me to the possible indictment I alluded to above. As with the law enforcement failures involving inaction by adults during the Florida school shooting, I’m curious about the possible adult inaction during these two, obviously less serious but still terrible, incidents.

In both of these public assaults on small children committed by strangers, I didn’t read anything about adults coming to the children’s defense. In one case, while employees “separated” the suspect from his victim, the suspect continued waiting in line rather than having been subdued. In fact, I’m thinking if it were my kid, the store manager would have been calling for a “clean up in the checkout aisle!” Remember, he’d just snatched away from another man his child. What else might the suspect do while remaining free?

In the Brooklyn train case, following the attack, the suspect escaped—after the train stopped at the next station. Perhaps someone tried to stop him, but, if so, it went unreported. I hope so. Maybe there were no capable adults nearby. Still, the suspect got away. In this case, were people quick to take pics but slow to respond to aid the victim? Then again, I wasn’t there, and I know how inaccurate news reports can be. But it makes me wonder.

An NYPD transit policeman interacts with a young child while riding the subway as a mixture of seemingly indifferent/pleased subway riders fill the seats. (Credit: Facebook/News 12 Brooklyn)

Of course, not everyone is able to help a victim physically, but for those who are, shouldn’t you do what you can? The weak among us sometimes need help from those of us who are able—and willing. We should be prepared to help if we can, right?

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at

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